There is one joy that money can never buy: the pure delight of making fun of rich people. And there is no better time to mock the wealthy than Christmas – turning the season of giving into the season of taking (the mickey). When the affluent want to give an elaborate gift, but don’t want to actually arrange the present themselves, they turn to the year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts. But let nothing you dismay – we have low-budget alternatives to all of them.
Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker
No, it’s not an amusement park swing ride for 7-up bottles. I thought so, too. It’s a Tanqueray shaker, complete with a year’s supply of Tanqueray and a mixology class. So, essentially a Rube Goldberg invention that turns a rich asshole into a rich, drunk asshole.
Alternative: A case of Crystal Palace gin ($100.00, your local college-adjacent liquor store), a shaker ($20.00, eBay), The Joy of Mixology ($20.00, Target)
Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience
This is like famous person fantasy camp. It includes two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, dinner at the Chateau Marmont (Lindsay Lohan optional?), pampering (such a gross word), a dress and some borrowed jewelry and getting your hair did, access to the Vanity Fair party, and a crushing, sobering return to reality the next day.
Alternative: a Groupon for a local spa, a gift card to some sort of place that sells dresses, and your personal stash of back issues of US Weekly.
The House Of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey
Whenever someone starts describing something as a “journey,” I tune out. You can say that you’re losing weight, but tell me that you’re “on a weight loss journey” and I’ll picture you with a compass and maybe a Saint Bernard, getting Sacajawea’ed through a Planet Fitness. So, what’s a “fragrance journey?” It’s a straight-up trip to Paris, with three nights in a five-star hotel, meals, a jaunt to the countryside, and a consult with a perfumier to make your “signature scent.”
Alternative: some essential oils (Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/ any decent grocery store), a glass bottle (basically wherever).
100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4
The copy for this gift reads like a how-to guide for being an insufferable douche. For instance: “Pulling out onto the road, you notice surrounding cars slow as you cruise down the street. Ubiquitous German luxury sedans become mere traffic in your presence—catching a glimpse of a Maserati is still a treat.” And also: “swiveled heads and open mouths accompany your arrival. Was it the aria emanating from the Bowers & Wilkins stereo or the symphony coming from the tailpipe that created the audience? Either way, one thing is certain: Everyone loves an Italian accent.”
The person who finds that braggadocio appealing is also, frankly, the last person I’d want to buy a gift for.
Alternative: A lump of coal. Do they make Italian coal? Then that.
Custom Locket and Trip with Monica Rich Kosann
First, you go to Germany (airfare not included). Then, “you’ll join forces with jewelry designer and photographer Monica Rich Kosann at the workshop of Constantin Wild (whose family has been in the gem business since 1847) on a quest to find—and design—the perfect locket. Together you’ll select a stone and collaborate on your creation. The final version, and a hand-painted rendering of your piece, will then make the journey to your home soon after. In the meantime, you are welcome to visit Kosann in New York City, where she’ll photograph you and your family for the very portrait that will be kept and prized in your locket.”
This gift combines my least-favorite things: group work and appearing in photographs. Also, what’s the point of a locket unless your long-lost relative has the other half of it somewhere? Does Neiman Marcus sell that?
Alternative: One of those lockets where you put in the stuff you want and it floats around like a necklace-snowglobe. Starting at like 30 bucks. Google “make your own locket.” You’re welcome.
Ultimate Mardi Gras Experience for Six Couples
Who the heck knows SIX couples? That they’d want to travel with?
Alternative: some beads (Party City, $2.00), some booze (however much you think it will take), some regret (the next day, free).
His & Hers Vilebrequin Quadski
I’m a little confused here. These are billed as a “his and hers gift,” which is sort of unnecessarily heteronormative. I mean, if stereotypes are to be believed, lesbians love outdoor adventures. Although the Very Straight Man pictured seems pretty into it too. But the catch is, the quadskis are 50K each. Do you have to buy two of them, then? What if you know a single person who would like to traverse land and sea on his very own prat-mobile? WHAT THEN?
Alternative: a pool float, an ATV from Craigslist.
The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway
It’s a scale model of a racetrack. And it costs more than most houses.
Alternative: A train set.
Preston Bailey Peacock Floral Sculptures
Do you have more money than you know what to do with, and an affinity for Edward Scissorhands? Here ya go, it’s a topiary that looks like a peacock.
Alternative: An Edible Arrangement. It’s also a plant cut into the shape of another thing, but you can eat it.
Leontine Linens Home Trousseau
The Neiman Marcus copy reads: “Most are perfectly content to live with lovely store-bought linens. But for those who envision slumbering among the finest custom cottons and dressing their tables with signature flair, the Leontine Linens Home Trousseau is a dream come true.”
Are you one of those garbage people who uses blankets from a store? Why not just cover yourself with day-old newspaper and a used pizza box, you living trash heap? Included in this gift are a series of phone interviews to determine what kind of linens you need. So not only do you have to pay $55,000.00, you have to talk on the phone. Also, you know what you could buy for 55K instead of a “home trousseau?” A home. A solid down payment on one, anyway.
Alternative: some sheets and blanket from a store. I just got a new blanket from Target. It was on sale. 17 bucks; warm as hell.